The weekly farm stand at St Luke’s Episcopal Church. (Erika Christ image)
Orchard Country Produce — a family-owned and operated, sustainable fruit and vegetable farm in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania — will open a weekly farm stand at Washington Farm United Methodist Church (WFUMC) in Mount Vernon late next month.
Since first opening a stand in the Fort Hunt area at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church six years ago, the Keckler family has expanded its business to other parts of the corridor. Two years ago, they opened a stand at River Towers and last summer at Belle View Condominium at 1204 Belle View Boulevard (see map). This summer, the family plans to consolidate its River Towers and Belle View Condo stands at the Belle View Boulevard location since they are in the same general area. And starting the last week of June, the Kecklers will set up shop in the west parking lot at WFUMC on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. The market will run approximately through the second week of October.
If the new stand is successful this year, Orchard Country Produce will consider starting a community supported agriculture (CSA) program at WFUMC, much like it has in place at its other locations. That program enables residents to pre-purchase shares of seasonal fruits and vegetables that can be picked up on-site on a weekly basis.
Oliver Keckler — who co-owns and runs the stands with his parents and wife — said they have been doing brisk business in the Richmond Highway area, even with the existence of the larger weekly farmer’s markets at Sherwood Regional Library and Huntington.
“We’ve been doing great,” said Keckler. “We get people coming to multiple markets each week. Many people stop by en route home from work,” he said, adding that the family hopes its new WFUMC location (see map) will attract people returning home from work at Fort Belvoir.
Keckler said the new stand likely will feature seasonal items like tomatoes, summer squash, strawberries, blueberries and cherries when it makes its debut, later adding late-summer produce like peaches and corn. The stand also will sell fresh eggs, honey and meats, among other items.
Until the WFUMC stand is open, Richmond Highway corridor residents can visit the Orchard Country Produce stand at St. Luke’s — which is open year-round — on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., or the Belle View Condo stand, which is open Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. through mid-November.